For months I told Amber that we were probably going to have to move to Arizona to live with my sister. As the days moved forward and we discovered that Arizona schools started at the beginning of August, I told Amber that we were going to have to make a decision by July 24th.
By the end of June, I hadn’t found work and I had to move out of my apartment, so as we moved our belongings into a storage unit, it didn’t seem like there was any chance that we would be able to stay in the Pacific Northwest, and neither one of us wanted to leave.
Since my sister had tons of company during the month of July, which meant no place for us to stay, I lived with one of my friends about 50 miles north of Seattle and Amber lived with one of her friends. I have more stories to come, but here is the amazing story about the few weeks leading up to our move, when I actually got a job and an apartment in the area Amber said she wanted to live!
I had been looking for work for months from Olympia to Bellingham after life shifted at the end of January.
There had been a couple of positive signs, but nothing materialized. I listened to advice from family and friends, taking some and leaving some, trying options that made sense to me in March and April, then shifting my approach a little in May, and a little more in June.
As we moved the last of our belongings into a storage unit at the end of June, it seemed like we were going to have to move to Arizona, but during the first week of July two opportunities for interviews appeared. On July 6, I was offered a job with a retailer, but they only guaranteed 12 hours a week. (They said I could check an online calendar and sign up for additional hours.) That evening I sent a thank-you note, and I received a reply that included information about an administrative position the manager wanted me to consider. It sounded like it would give me the hours I needed, but the second position wasn’t going to be posted until July 12, and I was told I was going to have to apply and interview again. Also, it wasn’t completely clear if the manager meant that I was being offered both jobs or just the administrative position.
Since I had work I felt would enable me to make the transition, the next day I headed back to the Seattle Metro area to look for an apartment, but I discovered that apartment rental requirements were now significantly different from anything I’d ever seen. At each place I was offered a form that listed the requirements needed in order to be able to rent, and they included having a verifiable income of 2.5 to 3 times the amount of the rent.
At that point I didn’t have it, and I didn’t know if I would even if I had both positions.
Around the same time, I’d also received a call about another interview, but since it was also part time, I wasn’t sure if I should even bother going to it. On the morning of the 9th, for some reason, I decided to go. As I drove back to the Metro area, I barely practiced for the interview because I’d done really well with the first and figured there wasn’t much point to the interview anyway. When I got to the parking lot I thought about telling the manager that I didn’t want to cancel the appointment without proper notification, but given the situation with the apartments, it probably wasn’t even worth going through with the interview if he didn’t have a full-time position, but then I thought, “No. Just go to the interview.”
The questions for the interview weren’t as difficult as the first, and I felt like I wasn’t providing answers that were as impressive, but I wasn’t sure what to do about it. Then the interviewer said, “So, are you looking for full-time or part-time?” So, while I was thinking, “OMG! I can’t believe he just asked that,” I calmly answered, “Full-time.” When we finished with the interview he took me around the store, and I felt really positive by the end.
I decided I needed to call the first company and ask them about the administrative position. I wanted to make sure it was in addition to the first. I explained this to the receptionist, and she said she would forward the information to the manager.
When I left I stopped by a few apartments that were further north of the area Amber wanted to live hoping maybe the requirements wouldn’t be as stringent. I went into a couple of places and I was right, so I headed back to my friend’s place for the evening. On my way, the phone rang. It was a Seattle number, so I answered it even though I was driving, hoping I could get through the call quickly. It was another manager at the second company, and she asked if I could come in for an interview on Monday the 13th.
When I got back to my friend’s house for the evening I found an e-mail from the first company that said, “We appreciate your interest in a career with us and thank you for taking the time to submit your applicant profile. However, we do not have a position that is equivalent to your job expertise at this time.” I thought, “Wow. I guess I just lost that job, but I still have the interview on Monday.”
Again, I was offered the job, but this time I was told I would typically get 30 to 35 hours a week. Then she said that I would probably be starting in a couple of weeks which meant I wouldn’t have verifiable income until then. I told Amber it didn’t look like we were going to make it, but a short time later, I got another call and the manager asked me if I could come in for training on the 15th. I filled out a few online forms on the 14th, then I traveled the 50 miles again on the 15th. While I was there the manager said things had changed, and she asked me if I could start on the 18th. I said, “Sure.”
That evening I made a few calculations and looked again at the prices of the apartments in the area Amber wanted to live (she knew a couple of kids there who were on a robotics team). I felt like I needed Amber to help me look for an apartment, so I called her and let her know I would be picking her up at 8:00 a.m. I went through my list, and I was up until about 10:30 p.m. creating a map that would help us navigate. The next morning as we drove back to the Metro area, Amber made two lists—one with the lowest priced apartments to visit first and one with the higher priced options that I figured we would probably end up skipping.
Then we made another discovery—the prices were higher than they indicated on the internet. So, by the time we visited about eight of the “lower priced” options and I had only taken one application, we decided to check out some of the others. We found one place that seemed a bit out of reach, but I took an application anyway, because we only had a few more left to visit. One had a note posted saying they would be out for a couple of hours. Then, at the next one, we picked up an application, but I didn’t like the location. So we headed to the next one—number 13 on my list.
When we got there the property manager had posted a note indicating that she would be back in 45 minutes. Amber groaned, “Are we really going to wait 45 minutes?” I said, “Yes. It’s not that long.”
However, sitting there in 90° heat, I wondered if I had been mistaken because it ended up being about an hour and a half before the property manager arrived. To add to our frustration, another couple was standing at the door when she got there, so I decided to ask a question as they started to walk into the building together. Since I could see paperwork in the fellow’s hand, I said, “It looks like they already have a place. Do you have any one-bedroom apartments available? Otherwise it’s not worth it for us to wait.” The property manager turned around and said, “Yes, we have some that will be available on the 24th.”
That night I called Motel 6 and made reservations since I was scheduled to work Saturday through Tuesday, which included working three nights until 10:30 p.m. I organized the paperwork I needed and headed back on Friday to submit it to two of the places. I didn’t hold out much hope, however, about apartment #1—the one I didn’t like—since the property manager told us that their review process could take up to ten days and it was the 17th. When I got there, to my dismay, the manager told me she needed more information, that her assistant hadn’t told us about everything. I turned in the paperwork at apartment #2 as well, and the manager seemed really positive. Then I drove back to my temporary home and organized the food and clothing I would need to live at Motel 6 for four days, which included finding as much of the additional paperwork as I could for apartment #1.
After I finished work on Tuesday the 21st, I wasn’t scheduled again until the 4:00 p.m., Friday the 24th. So, the next morning I went back to check about the status of apartment #2. The property manager said it looked like we were going to be approved, that I would have documents to sign later that day, so we scheduled a check-in appointment on Friday at 1:00 p.m.
I was really anxious about it and shared that with a couple of friends at dinner, but I also felt like I was being kind of ridiculous. If it didn’t work out, we could still go to Arizona. But I had a job and had to work on Friday, so when the lease contract hadn’t arrived by Thursday morning, I decided I’d better call the property manager. She didn’t answer so I waited a little while, then tried again. Thankfully she picked up that time and explained that she was surprised I didn’t have the contract because she said she’d sent it.
I proceeded to read and sign the 45-page lease contract, then at about 3:30 that afternoon, I started to pack all of my belongings, as well as sort out things I thought I wouldn’t need for the first few days to take to our storage unit. I finished packing the rest of my things Friday morning and cleaned the place, and I managed to leave at about 10:30 a.m.
I arrived about an hour early for the appointment, then at 1:00 p.m. I got a call from the property manager who explained that the cleaning crew was running late. She asked if we could move our appointment to 2:00 p.m. and I thought, “Do I have a choice?” At 2:20 p.m. I walked over to the office and asked how things were going, while also mentioning that I had to work at 4:00 p.m. We finalized a few issues as the cleaning crew finished, which included my rental insurance policy number, and I was able to throw a few things into the apartment at about 3:10 p.m. before I changed clothes and headed to work at 3:30 p.m.
It was the 24th of July—the day I’d mentioned to Amber. Then I realized that, in January, I’d actually announced the exact number of months it would take for us to make the move in an e-mail.
There is more to this story that makes it even more remarkable, including other phenomenal aspects of the move and an event that occurred during the move, but this seemed like enough for this post. I am not sure about how to handle the rest of it right now. I feel like I have a second memoir in the works, but I have other stories that are higher priorities.
I have been working on one of the stories during my breaks at work, which I have tentatively titled, “White Butterflies and Angels,” and I may try to see if I can get it published, but I am planning to get back to Critical Revelations next and push forward to get it self-published as soon as possible. Then I will try to figure out how to proceed with the phenomenal events that continue to occur in my life.
Since there are so many things happening like this, I hang on to a lot of information, and I have a copy of the e-mail mentioned above. The 24th was the date I felt I had to make a decision because we were going to have to drive to Arizona, and I didn’t think we could leave any later than the 26th to have time to take care of school registration before school started the following Monday.